- Malaysian GP - FP3
Mercedes dominates final practice at Sepang
Mercedes finally showed its hand in the final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, upping the pace considerably to finish the session one-two.
The two Mercedes drivers went out on medium tyres with roughly 15 minutes of the session remaining and Nico Rosberg laid down the benchmark with a 1:39.008, over 0.9s faster than he managed on Friday. Lewis Hamilton was 0.232s off his team-mate, losing time to Rosberg in sectors one and three.
Kimi Raikkonen maintained his position as best of the rest, but failed to improve on his Friday time. He was 1.148s off Rosberg by the end of the session, but also out switched to his medium tyres earlier than usual suggesting there is more to come in qualifying. Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest and 1.379s off Rosberg as the battle behind Mercedes looks poised to be a close and interesting one.
Nico Hulkenberg showed promising pace in the Force India with the fifth fastest time ahead of Fernando Alonso, who, like Raikkonen, headed out early on the mediums. The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas again struggled for one-lap pace in eighth and ninth, but should be a better proposition when it comes to the race. Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten in his Force India.
Despite heading into the weekend fill of optimism, McLaren had a disappointing session, with neither car setting a relevant lap time. Jenson Button managed just four laps after complaining about the car's performance in high-speed corners and Kevin Magnussen failed to set a time. Both cars had powertrain issues that the team was investigating and could be ruled out of qualifying if they take a long time to fix.
Lotus improved, but only in the sense that the cars both completed a respectable amount of laps. Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean were both struggling to slow the car under hard braking and Grosjean described rear end grip as "a disaster". However, the team can take some positives from not being rooted to the bottom of the timesheets, with Grosjean 3.741s off Rosberg's quickest lap.